CFD International CFD-M3 Machine Gun

CFD International’s recently developed CFD-M3 Machine Gun was on display at the IDEX arms show last month. The CTD-M3, as the name suggests, is based on the AN/M3 aircraft machine gun design (a faster firing variant of the Browning M2). The ground/vehicle based version of the CFD-M3 fires at a rate of 1000 rpm, significantly more than the 600 rpm of the M2A1, while the aircraft version can fire at 1,100 rpm.

The ground version weighs 74.5 lbs and the aircraft version weighs 73.5 lbs.

Many thanks to Lionel for the info and photo.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • 77

    ok and why is this better than a AN/M3? and isn’t 600 rpm better for ground use?

    • Yes it is. 600 rpm makes the barrels last longer and why would you need a higher rate of fire in ground combat? If it has a quick change barrel system that would help

      • Daniel E. Watters

        Don’t forget that the GAU21/A (FN M3P) is being used on the Avenger Air Defense System.

      • Name

        I was under the impression that more metal on target faster = always gooder.

  • Dale

    I wonder how quickly those barrels wear out shooting at 1,000+ rounds per minute. Are there any distinct advantages of the CFD-M3 over the M2A1 other than the higher rate of fire?

    • Not long under sustained fire!

      • Anonymoose

        I’d like to see a modern water-cooled HMG.

        • bbmg

          Hear hear, surely with cooling being a universal issue with almost anything mechanical and electronic these days, the advances in materials and techniques should allow for a 21st century version the classic Maxim design that is more efficient as well as being much lighter.

          • For smaller caliber belt-fed & crew-served automatic weapons (5.56mm & 7.62x51mm) that serve essentially identical roles (though those chambered in the former caliber would be unlikely to see aerial employment), I can see such a technological revisiting as a pretty good idea.

            That said, water can only last so long against the heat of sustained fire, and whether at 450rpm or 1100rpm, .50 BMG is about as hot as they get before you get into pintle-mounted flamethrowers or 20mm+ cannon rounds. The size of the water jacket would likely be prohibitively large in order to have a substantial effect. Even if that were still passable, then ground vehicles at least will need to develop a water reserve system that offers decent protection from blast fragments and smaller-caliber small arms fire, as well as reliably feeds water to the cooling jacket at a consistent rate.

            Lastly, while this is an operational-specific concern, it would be HIGHLY difficult to sell the ground vehicle-based concept to military brass or enlisted men. Considering how essential continual hydration is to troops in the sandbox, I doubt it’d go over too well when drinking supplies take a hit after being diverted to MG cooling.

            Just some ramblings and running trains of thought, not trying to attack your ideas, just offering some potential obstacles towards developing/fielding such a concept in practice. If a hybrid air/water cooling system can be developed for aircraft-mounted guns, though, I think you’d have at least a fighting chance of seeing an official Pentagon/DARPA study commissioned concerning the concept.

          • bbmg

            Agreed with your assessment, liquid cooling is not the way of the future. I expect to see more weapons developed along the lines of the Russian Pecheneg, which unlike most light machineguns has a fixed barrel that is provided with a jacket containing radial cooling fins in the same style of the Lewis gun, along which air is forced by the muzzle blast.

  • Anonymoose

    Perhaps they’re making a ground-use M3 so that they have something in between the regular M2HB/M2A1 and the GAU-19?

  • I agree with Anonymoose, a water cooled machine gun made out of light weight modern materials ( titanium barrel, carbon composite housing etc ) would make a single barrel M.G. with the weight ( or lower ) of a current M.G. with the ability to fire for much greater lengths of time. Mind you I’m no expert when it comes to firearms, I look at these things from a outsiders point of view, whether they are practical or not I trust you guys to weigh in.

    • Name

      A lightweight titanium M2HB clone? Who’d use it? Recoil would be… substantial. If it’s only usable when mounted on a vehicle pintle mount, the weight savings don’t mean much.